Motorola Backflip Reviewed

The Motorola Backflip is an AT&T smart phone running Motorola's Android OS, called MOTOBLUR. The backflip has a pretty cool design-- the front of the phone, which is a full glass screen that, when off and viewed straight on, looks a lot like a mini-iPhone, flips open by rotating towards the front (backwards from the usual way flip phones work). This makes for a pretty slick little device that you want to slide open and closed over and over, just for fun. In its full open position, the Backflip has a backlit soft button keyboard, and a completely unique trackpad on the backside of the screen-- when holding the phone, your index fingers could go behind the front screen to navigate the interface with the trackpad.The design feature's backstory is that the trackpad placement allows for more on screen real estate, so that your fat fingers can stay behind the screen and not obstruct the view. Personally, prefer my fat fingers poking at the screen because its much faster than using a trackpad, and especially so with this trackpad in particular-- its size and location made navigation slow and pretty unwieldy.

What's different about the MOTOBLUR approach to Android OS is that it introduces a bunch of social widgets for the home screen desktop. The OS is supposed to be all about the social stuff, so the widgets grab social network updates, feeds, and inbox messages right on the home screen. In this way its also automatically updated, which is faster than opening and screening individual applications, but also not as handy as at any given moment, you see one update at a time from, let's day, your newsfeed, so unless you're staring at the screen all day, won't make you feel "connected" to what's going on like reading through a list of updates can.

Generally, the phone seemed a little slow. Trying to launch the camera (where from within you get to choose to use it for still photos or video) took a while, and I waited a good number of beats trying to get the video camera to record-- in moments where you want to spontaneously capture a memory, forget it. The system is vaguely sluggish even when switching from screen to screen, which you can accomplish by swiping your finger to drag a "new" homescreen into place. This allows you more room for shortcuts to apps, where you can find the icon right from the desktop instead of having to search for it in the incredibly long apps menu that you can also launch from any screen.

The phone also has a microSD expansion slot, which can support a 32GB card-- great space for all your music and video! The screen is a little on the smaller side at 3.1 inches, though, so it's likely not going to be your top choice for watching flicks and clips.

Checking on AT&T's site, a two-year service agreement on voice and minimum $15/mo data plan required. If you buy the phone online with contract then, its a cool $79, which is a very reasonable price for a smart phone!